CAR leader names new prime minister

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iol newsp ic SIE015_CENTRALAFRICAN-_0205_11 Reuters Catherine Samba-Panza. File picture: Siegfried Modola

Bangui - Central African Republic President Catherine Samba Panza named the former cabinet chief of Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia as prime minister on Sunday in an effort to build a national unity government to end sectarian violence.

Mahamat Kamoun, a Muslim, will replace respected technocrat Andre Nzapayeke, who resigned last week, to allow a consensus government to be appointed in an effort to end violence between Seleka and the “anti-balaka” Christian militia.

Kamoun, an economist and former Finance Ministry official, served as head of Djotodia's cabinet during his 10-month presidency after Muslim Seleka fighters seized power in March 2013.

Seleka's abuse of the majority Christian population during its time in power prompted the formation of the “anti-balaka” militia, a loose grouping including some former soldiers and supporters of toppled president Francois Bozize, which carried out reprisal attacks against the Muslim population.

Seleka forces retreated northward after Djotodia resigned the presidency under international pressure in January. Tens of thousands of Muslims have since fled anti-balaka attacks in the south, dividing the country along religious and ethnic lines.

A ceasefire deal signed in Brazzaville, capital of neighbouring Congo Republic, last month has failed to put an end to religious violence along the dividing line between the Christian and Muslim zones. - Reuters

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